Palmer Buzz

Saturday was a big deal. It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving and in Palmer, that means Small Business Saturday. There has always been a push on this, for good reason. Local craft-makers and storekeepers depend on some big days like this for their success. There’s lots of advertising and discussion about this day of local Palmer commerce.

But things look different this year. Approximately half the population is very wary of crowds and small places. Approximately half of the population isn’t. We are split as a community. And it’s clearly visible in the amount of traffic and bustle on this winter festival day. The beautiful Percheron horses are high-stepping and pulling the wagon around town. And everyone is trying to be polite and happy… but still concern is evident. Palmer online discussion is lengthy. Online ordering is ramped up along with home shoppers and alternative shopping opportunities, which are less crowded. Vendors and storekeepers are doing their very best to serve anyone and everyone. Here are some bright spots from the community.

Ice Rink in Palmer—The zamboni has smoothed the new ice rink off and our reliable Palmer winds will do the rest. This welcome addition is outside, over at the MTA Events Center across from Palmer Junior Middle School.

Palmer Fireworks Collective—There was picture after picture posted on the Palmer Alaska Buzz of the fabulous fireworks Saturday evening. From every angle and different distances, the fireworks were photographed and documented. Palmer business owner Stan Guthrie sponsors these fireworks yearly as a part of a personal faith celebration. Everyone loves the fireworks. Dozens of Palmer facebook postings came in almost immediately. The Palmer Alaska Buzz was flooded with fireworks. In this large wave of snapshots also came a sense of joy of community. We weren’t bickering. We weren’t judging. We weren’t worrying. We were all just watching. Without even knowing, we were honoring the moment.

There is one picture that came in a little later which told the entire story. It is a picture of an unknown family, bundled up in jackets and hoodies and parkas. It is dark and all five are looking up into the sky, staring at the fireworks. All have huge smiles and wonder on their faces. The post and picture submitted by Helen Sheldon, of Palmer, says it all: “For a small moment, all was right in the world, once again.” (I don’t know Ms. Sheldon. I contacted her for permission to use her quote in this column.) Thank you, Helen. You nailed it.

Palmer Lesson learned: It’s been a hard year. We need more fireworks. We need more funnies and comic strips. We need more games and puzzles. We need more picture books. We need more music. We need more outside time sledding and walking. We need more animals and children romping in our life. Ultimately, Palmer needs less politics. Palmer needs less argument over masks and less shaming. We need to look up at the stars and the big fat beaver moon and just for a moment… let that fresh wave of joy roll in.

Welcome December! Stay safe and warm.

Barbara Hunt is both Palmer writer and artist. She works hard to keep the robust pulse of Palmer, Alaska. She shares the good stuff in the weekly Palmer Alaska Buzz Column in the Mat Su Valley Frontiersman and daily on the Palmer Alaska Buzz Facebook Group. Contact at or text 907.315.3222

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